National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my favorite movies of all time. My brother and I have watched it so many times that we can practically quote the entire thing and yet I still can’t help laughing every time I watch it. At a pivotal point in the movie, the main character, Clark Griswold, is in bed with his wife Ellen and she turns to him and says,
“Honey, you set standards that no family activity can live up to.”
I love his classic response, “When have I ever done that?”
Deluding ourselves into this kind of thinking is a major part of everyday life. I start the day assuming that I will eat right, exercise and lose five pounds. Somewhere along the way, I consume a burger, fries and that irresistible birthday cake in the office. Still determined to get to the gym, I get changed into the right outfit and then remember the errands I promised to run for Deb. No wonder I wake up the next day two pounds heavier.
How many times have we made a plan to complete our important “to do” list of activities and gotten to the end of the day with none of them checked off?
This week, I realized that I have been treating God with a similar attitude. I keep setting false expectations for Him. The problem is not that I expect too much of Him, but that I expect too little.
Do I really believe what it says in Ephesians 3:20?
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”
For most of my life this has been a pleasant benediction to hear at the end of a great sermon and not a promise to cling to like my life depended on it. So this week, I am determined to ask myself a different set of questions:
- Can I believe God that my children will not just turn out OK, but that they will have a passion for His Kingdom that impacts all their life choices?
- Can I believe God that my marriage will not just be better than average, but that it will actually become a picture of the bride and groom portrayed in Ephesians 5? Can I really love my wife the way Christ loves the church?
- Can I believe God that the church I attend will be more than a comfortable place to go on Sunday? Can our church really change the community we live in?
- Can I believe God that He will not just take care of my needs, but that He will transform my desires?
- Can I believe that the God I serve really does hold the keys of death and hades? Can I trust that His word is true and does not return void?
I fear that many of us have settled for a God that fits in a safe “natural” box as our conference speaker, Fred Hartley, said this past week. May I not be afraid of His supernatural power and instead learn to live with great expectations of His work in my life each and every day.